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No Surpise in Kansas GOP Caucuses: Huckabee Rolls

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John McCain has failed in yet another caucus state - this time the Midwestern state of Kansas.

Mitt Romney had dominated the caucuses before dropping out of the race on Thursday, winning them all (Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming) except for Iowa and West Virginia. Due to Romney's departure, conservatives in Kansas thus flocked to the alternative to McCain, Mike Huckbee (who won the Iowa and West Viriginia caucuses).

The final Republican results:
Huckabee = 60%
McCain = 24%
Paul = 11%
Romney = 3%

McCain has yet to win a caucus state thus far - a strong indication of the problems he faces with the "heart and soul" of the Republican party. McCain has dominated in most primaries, especially those in which independents have been able to vote in the contests. The only surprise in Kansas today is that the media was somewhat surprised to see McCain lose: CNN's Wolf Blitzer called this a "major win" for Huckabee. When Romney was racking up 5 caucus victories on Super Tuesday, the media downplayed their importance, frequently referring to them as "consolation prizes" and victories in "small states."

McCain has now lost 18 of the 30 contests held thus far in the campaign.

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Much has been made about Charlie Crist's political transformation from Republican to independent to Democrat en route to winning the Florida GOP and Democratic gubernatorial nominations over a span of eight years. Party-switching aside, Crist is also vying to become just the second Florida governor to serve two interrupted terms. Democrat William Bloxham was the first - serving four year terms from 1881 to 1885 and then 1897 to 1901. Florida did not permit governors serving consecutive terms for most of its 123 years prior to changes made in its 1968 constitution. Since then four have done so: Democrats Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, and Lawton Chiles and Republican Jeb Bush.


No 100-Year Curse for Roberts

Defeating his Tea Party primary challenger Milton Wolf with just 48.1 percent of the vote, Pat Roberts narrowly escaped becoming the first elected U.S. Senator from Kansas to lose a renomination bid in 100 years. The last - and so far only - elected U.S. Senator to lose a Kansas primary was one-term Republican Joseph Bristow in 1914. Bristow was defeated by former U.S. Senator Charles Curtis who went on to win three terms before becoming Herbert Hoover's running mate in 1928. Only one other U.S. Senator from the Sunflower State has lost a primary since the passage of the 17th Amendment: Sheila Frahm in 1996. Frahm was appointed to fill Bob Dole's seat earlier that year and finished 13.2 points behind Sam Brownback in the three-candidate primary field. Overall, incumbent senators from Kansas have won 29 times against two defeats in the direct vote era. (Curtis also lost a primary in 1912 to Walter Stubbs, one year before the nation moved to direct elections).


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